Huaphan Province - Part 2 off road loop from phonsavan


Active member
May 25, 2019
Chiang Mai
Honda Africa Twin, Honda CRF250L

This trip report starts and finishes in Phonsavan. I decided to do this trip around the start of December 2019 right after spending time at the the Hmong New year celebrations. The route took me up against the Vietnamese border quite a few times along some really nice dirt trails. The mountainous scenery was really beautiful and the remote villages were like something out of a national geographic magazine. It a relatively sparsely populated area compared to other regions. The elevation is quite high up and in December it was bloody cold!

Part 2: From Phahang - Muang Et - LS 85 - Sam Nua - Muang Hiam - Phonsavan

The main way points of the whole route were basically as follows:
  • Phonsavan
  • Muang Khoun
  • Nong Het
  • Muang Quan
  • Vieng Xai
  • Pahang
  • Muang Et
  • Phu Pha Thi - LS 85
  • Sam Nua
  • Muang Hiam
  • LS 36
  • Phonsavan

As usual, no fancy GPS tracking system, just on my phone and asking around with the locals.



Despite the cold, I couldn't resits riding down these trails. Cool views all along.


Eventually I turned around and headed back for the main road and back to civilization. I made a good mental note of the area as being an excellent place to return to.

Going back down the hill was really good fun and cool scenery.


It was eventually time to start looking for somewhere to stay for the night. I came to the town of Nong Et saw a few guesthouses and some decent looking restaurants, so decision made. It was beer Lao o' clock.


The accommodation was definitely on the lower end of my expectations, but there wasn't much choice in the town. Anyway it did for the night.


The next day I headed south in the direction of Sam Nua. I planned on making a stop at Phu Pha Thi LS 85 along the way.

I was surprised to find what appeared to be the main road to the provincial capital still hadn't been paved. It was a good surprise, after all I was on my dirt bike.

I came across what appeared to be a newly constructed airport that still hadn't opened. Very random indeed to have such a nice construction and only dirt roads leading to and from it.


I was making good time so I decided to push on to Phu Pha Thi to check out LS 85 again. The road in has been mostly paved since last year. Cool dramatic mountain views the whole way in.


Phu Pha Thi in the distance


They've even installed some safety crash barriers!


One of the gun relics from the top.


Epic views from the top


Super cool view point

I was the last punter for the day allowed up, so I had the place to myself.


There's a new guard house installed at the top.


As I was about to leave I could hear some shouting coming from the guard house. The soldiers were calling me over an insisted I join them for a Beer Lao. In fairness catching the sunset at from the top of Phu Pha Thi LS85 is an epic sport for a Beer Lao sun downer.


Now, the slight issue with smashing a few Beer Lao at sunset with the soldiers on the top of LS 85 meant that it was now getting dark... and bloody cold. It was still about an hour and a half ride back to Sam Nua.


It was a case of ride faster and be colder with the wind chill or ride slower be less cold but prolong the freezing agony. Eventually I got into Sam Nua absolutely freezing. I just found a guesthouse and went to bed right away.


The next day I cruised on down to Muang Hiam, somethimes referred to Vieng Thong.


I like the town of Muang Hiam and this time I ended up staying 2 nights.

I was at a restaurant and met an American chap who is one of the head guys at the National Park conservation center. He was able to give me some good info about riding around the Muang Hiam area.


The next day I headed to LS 36. Much of the road is in bits and it took me a fair bit longer than I thought.


It was nice to check out, but you had to use your imagination quite a bit as there isn't much left of the original structures.


There's some old equipment from back in the day.



There is also this cool gun in the forest nearby.


Lots of old war scrap to be seen.


A very nice little village nearby too.


The ol road wasn't in the greatest of shape.


There's a nice little restaurant down by the bridge. It was the main focal point of what little activity was happening that evening. The american guy I met that has lived there for the last 5 years, taught the owner how to make french fries and put them on the menu. He also helped translate the menu into English and put the restaurant on google maps. Its funny that as a result of that simple marketing initiative, that nearly every foreigner in town (1 or 2) ends up in that restaurant. The restaurant owner is in the process of learning a few words of English to service his new found market.


The next day I hit the off road trail (some say shortcut) south to Phonsavan. The american guy I met claimed he has done it in 2 hours on his Baja. I was going to take it at an more relaxed pace.


I got back to Phonsavan in good time for Beer Lao o'clock.

Overall this was a really cool off road adventure into the wilderness of Huaphan province. It took a bit longer that expect too, but who cares its not a race and I took my time. 9 days all up. The time of year made it very cold. Many of the riding days were very long too so I was pretty knackered and all off roaded out by the time I was finished.

I was glad to cruise the rest of my trip on nice easy tarmac after this.

All up epic round trip adventure in Huaphan province. Highly recommended.
Again nicely done, Lima 85 is impressive, but oh those stairs are a killer in riding boots and short legs. You didn't say much about the trial south to Phonsavan but I remember trying to make it a couple of times in the wet and finally did it south to north it was mostly single track and a random swing bridge half way you had no choice but to pay.
Again nicely done, Lima 85 is impressive, but oh those stairs are a killer in riding boots and short legs. You didn't say much about the trial south to Phonsavan but I remember trying to make it a couple of times in the wet and finally did it south to north it was mostly single track and a random swing bridge half way you had no choice but to pay.

Cheers mate. Every time I've been to Lima 85 or anywhere else that I know requires a substantial bit of walking, I change into shorts and trainers. No way I was climbing up that thing and walking all the way out the back in enduro boots lol

The trail from Muang Hiam south to Phonsavan was very nice. For some reason I didn't take too many pics, I cant remember why. There wasn't much single track as far as I remember so perhaps they've widened it a bit since. Or else I reckon there may be various trails leading in roughly the same direction. I may have gotten clipped for a poxy "toll" charge also.
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